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Consumer Tips and Information

Travel Solicitations by Phone or Mail

The Attorney General's office receives numerous calls and complaints relating to offers of travel certificates and other travel offers. The most common complaint is from consumers who thought they had won a trip when they received an unsolicited certificate or phone call. Actually, the certificate or phone call was only an opportunity to buy a vacation package.

Travel Certificates Offer

First, you are required to call the 800 number listed on the certificate.

Then you may be asked to provide your credit card number to pay an initial fee, possibly as high as several hundred dollars.

You may also be told that you have to act immediately, or you will lose your chance at the vacation package.

Consumers, Be Cautious

Be very wary of any travel company that tells you that you must act immediately to take advantage of the offer.

Ask for written materials that describe the trip, including a list of all charges. Many of these offers require you to pay additional fees for transportation, port fees, hotel taxes, and surcharges for holidays or special events. If they will not send this information without payment first, this could be a scam.

NEVER give your credit card number over the phone to a travel company with which you are unfamiliar, especially if the company contacted you initially.

Scammed?

If you find that you have been the victim of travel fraud, take action immediately to challenge the charge. Some states have laws governing a consumer's right to cancel the purchase of a travel package.

Check out the law for the state in which the company is located. For example, if the company is located in Florida, Florida law provides that you have thirty days to cancel the transaction.

Cancellations should be done in writing, by certified mail. If you have given your credit card number to an out-of-state travel company and are now concerned, you may wish to dispute the charge with your credit card company. The back of your credit card statement will tell you how to dispute the charge.

Consumer Complaint Form

To request further information or to file a complaint, write to:
Attorney General's Office
Consumer Protection Division
Hoover Building
1300 E. Walnut
Des Moines, IA 50319